Free Friday: Today’s top free Amazon sci-fi and fantasy books for July 28, 2023

Reading Time: 15 minutes
Free Friday: Today’s top free Amazon sci-fi and fantasy books for July 28, 2023

Did you know that Amazon has a list of the top-selling and free sci-fi and fantasy books? The list changes constantly — authors and publishers set their books to free temporarily to promote their work, and, of course, books move up and down in the rankings. Read on to find your fun free read for this weekend! And grab the books quickly because they don’t always stay free for long.

This week’s list is completely different from those of the previous weeks. So if you’re a fan of free books, there are going to be new things to read all the time. If you want to get this list in your inbox every Friday afternoon, subscribe to the MetaStellar weekly newsletter.

There are a lot of books to go through, so this week I’m being helped out by a couple of other members of our MetaStellar community. If you’d like to join me in doing these reviews — and taping our regular Free Friday videos — email me at [email protected].

10. The Piece You Broke by Marleigh Kassidy

This is the first of three books in the paranormal romance series The Hounds. The other books are $3.99 each but are all in Kindle Unlimited. This is the first time we have seen this author in our Free Friday list.

From Maria Korolov:

The book has “reverse harem romance” in the subtitle, so I know right away I’m not the target reader of this book. But I’m writing the review because we don’t have any target readers on our review team. Are you the target reader? Or do you, yourself, write paranormal romance? Get in touch and help us review these books! My email is [email protected].

But anyway, I’m not a fan of reverse harem because this is where, instead of choosing which hot guy she wants, the woman gets to keep all the hot guys. To me, this just seems like too much work. And too much drama!

Still, you never know, I might like it.

The book begins with a trigger warning — it features a traumatized heroine, and scenes of sexual assault, suicide, self-harm, and violence. Among others.

That’s also a little worrying, but it all depends on how the violence is presented. I don’t mind James Bond-style cartoonish violence. But if its scary psychological thriller violence, then count me out, please.

The book starts with Saige turning 18, working at a diner. She’s trying to save up money so she can get her own place. Now that she’s 18 she can leave home. Then her dad shows up at the diner, drunk, screaming about money, and beats her up. Right in front of her boss and customers.

A handsome stranger comes in and stops her dad from hitting her again. And the stranger tells Paige that she’s his mate and nobody will ever hurt her again. She let him pull her to her feet and then leaves with him.

Basically, going from one domineering, controlling man straight to another. Oh, no, Paige. Don’t do that.

Then we jump ahead, to two years later. She now knows that the man she’s with is a shifter. She learned the hard way, when she tried to run away the first time — and he killed the cab driver. Now he controls every thing she does, keep her chained up. He even gives her as a reward to his pack, for them to abuse.

She’s in a car with one of the other shape shifters and distracts him — sexually — so she has a chance to wrench the steering wheel and send the car crashing off the bridge. Somehow, she survives while the shape shifter dies. Good for her. Will the guy who thinks she’s his mate think she’s dead and let her go? Or will he hunt her down?

I have to say, I’m getting pulled into the book. It totally subverts the fated mates trope, and Saige risks her life — multiple times — to get free. I like her. The story is tense and suspenseful, and also very sexually explicit. So if you’re easily shocked, you might want to stay away.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

9. Dark Hunt by Annika West

This is the first of three books in the urban fantasy romance series Dragon Bound. The other books are $4.99 each but are all in Kindle Unlimited. This is the first time we have seen this author in our Free Friday list.

From Lilivette Domínguez-Torres:

Aster is a half-supernatural detective who works for the Union, a government agency that helps the half-human, half-supernatural beings settle down in a society divided by magical hierarchies.

Through the first few chapters of the book it is not clear what exactly her heritage is — all we know is that she has the magical ability to turn camouflage on and off whenever she needs to. An interesting yet faulty magical power that we get to see her use at the very beginning of the story when she’s trying to run away and hide from a dragon that’s chasing her through the dirty sewers of the city.

Compared to other supernatural people who can actually turn themselves invisible and even hide their scent, she’s considered a supernatural citizen with weak powers, which is why she spends her days in an office until they finally decide to give her her first field job.

Before she ended up running from a dragon around the city sewers, a man asked for her specifically to come to his house in the name of the Union. He needed her to help him open his safe, which he was sure had been tampered with by supernatural intruders. He also needed someone to take their prints and make a report, but something that Aster can’t understand was why he’d asked for her out of all of the other detectives. This was her first field job, she couldn’t say no.

After reaching his house, she realizes it’s empty but still decides to break in and see what’s going on. After all, she has to make contact with him if she wants to get paid and call this a successful field job. After exploring his house and coming across a random dead pig she, she decides to continue her search and go down to the basement. And it’s not until the light sensors illuminate the room that she realizes how bad she’s messed up. She’s in a wyvern’s lair and he’s right there with her in his shifter form, trying to defend his treasures from her.

All in all, I have to admit that this was a pretty fun read. I really enjoyed the fast-pace of the story and how hilarious the main character is. I think I will continue this a bit more just to see what happens next.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

8. Enchant by Demelza Carlton

This is the first of twenty-seven books in the Romance a Medieval Fairytale series, which is a collection of stand-alone retold fairytales. The other books are $4.99 to $5.33 each, and the series is not in Kindle Unlimited. This author has been on our Free Friday list numerous times previously, with the most recent being this past May with a different book from this same collection, Once Upon a Viking.

From Maria Korolov:

Zuleika has inherited her mother’s skill for magic, the only one of the three daughters who has it. Her mother died two years prior. Then a king’s messenger arrives — the king needs her mother. The messenger doesn’t know that she’s dead. If she won’t come, then he’s supposed to take her children. Zuleika pretends to be her mother, and makes him promise to leave her family alone. The king wants her to create a curse for him. But when she arrives at the castle, the king immediately knows that she’s not her mother. But she tells him that she’s already cast the curse.

It’s a magic mirror, and when he looks into it, he can see any place or person he wants. But whoever looks at it is cursed — his reflection will reveal the darkest aspects of his nature, which will become visible to everyone else. The king is happy about this — he plans to send the mirror as a gift to an enemy. But instead of letting her go home, he keeps her as his prisoner.

And he rapes her. Even though she’s only 16.

She puts a curse on him, that he will never have any children. Then, in the morning, she sneaks out of the castle.

It’s a great beginning — and a very different take on the Beauty and the Beast story. I liked it, and might keep reading it this weekend.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

7. Dragon Forged by Dan Michaelson and D.K. Holmberg

This is the first of thirteen books in the Blood of the Ancients epic fantasy series. The other books in the series are $3.99 to $4.99 each and are all in Kindle Unlimited. These authors have both appeared on our Free Friday list before, with the most recent being in October of 2022 with their book The Caged Dragon.

From Alex Mueller:

Young men are trained as warriors for the mission of defending their village from the dangers of the outside world. Pretty standard coming of age deal — but there’s a twist. That training involves consuming the blood of dead dragons. Those who undergo the process become Dragon Forged, inheriting the strength and endurance of a dragon, effectively turning themselves into juggernauts of destruction and mayhem.

It’s a career path that leads to glory and honor.

And our protagonist doesn’t get to have any of that.

In a world populated by superhuman human-dragon hybrids, we get to follow that one person who doesn’t qualify. Naturally this creates problems: reduced social status, possibly getting disowned. That part wasn’t clear, but I thought it seemed reasonable.

They’re not having a great time.

This is when we learn about another twist this world has to offer. It’s not just the people who are dragon-forged, the wildlife of this world is too. Meaning we get to follow a protagonist who can get beaten up by everyone in his village, and also by everything that lives in the woods outside it.

Still, it’s an interesting dynamic. Everyone loves an underdog, and our protagonist is certainly that. Literally. There are dogs that are dragon-forged, and that means the dogs are bigger and stronger than our protagonist.

It’s an interesting situation to be sure, set in an interesting world, and I look forward to continuing this story.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

6. Timepiece by Heather Albano

This is the first of three books in the Keeping Time time-travel adventure series. The other books are $3.99 and are not on Kindle Unlimited. This is the first time this author has been on our Free Friday list.

From Sophie Gorjance:

Lieutenant Colonel John Freemantle is an aide de camp to Duke Wellington during the Battle of Waterloo. The setting is well researched, well visualized, and very well brought to life.

This would be a convincing history novel it it were not an engaging speculative history novel instead. The speculative nature of the world becomes clear, when Wellington orders the “special battalion” to the field to ward off the French. This battalion is made up of “huge slavering things” whose “flesh hangs slack off the bone” that can be trained to “mostly not kill men in red jackets”. The English fear them almost as much as the French, and they make an immediately gripping historical deviancy that I definitely want to know more about.

This is not only a speculative history novel, however, but a time travel novel, and we are introduced to our intrepid traveler in the second chapter. She’s Miss Elizabeth Barton, seventeen-year-old lady of society in the Regency period. Despite being largely bored and impatient with her family’s determination for her to marry, she avoids the “not like other girls” designation by not scorning girls who do appreciate those things, which is refreshing.

In the first pages of her chapter, she receives an anonymous gift of a very strange pocket watch, the titular timepiece. I did not read far enough to see what impetuous but sheltered Elizabeth is going to get up to in war-torn 1815, but it promises to be a fun time.

Albano writes clearly and engagingly, with a strong skill in visuals and atmosphere that is already serving her well. If you like history, adventure, time travel, or any combo of the above, I think this should be at the top of your to-be-read shelf, and I’d be happy to continue it myself.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

5. Legacy of the Lost by Lindsey Sparks

This is the first of six books in the Atlantis Legacy urban fantasy series. The next three books are $4.99 each. The fifth book in the series is currently available for pre-order and will be coming out Aug. 16, 2022. The series is not in Kindle Unlimited.

From Maria Korolov:

The book starts out with plenty of action… but it turns out to be virtual reality. In real life, Cora is sick and can’t go anywhere or do much of anything. She has seizures whenever anyone touches her.

But she’s getting a new virtual reality toy to play with, a full-body virtual reality suit. not just a helmet.

Then she gets a package from her mother, with a mysterious artifact in it, and an even more mysterious note. Did something her mother do cause Cora to have the seizures? Is there some kind of magical aspect to them? How is virtual reality going to play into it?

I’m kind of curious, but the book has a slightly more serious tone than what I’m in the mood for right now. The virtual reality, though — that’s definitely going to bring me back this weekend.

Get the ebook free from Amazon here.

4. Hex After Forty by M. J. Caan

This is the first of nine books in Singing Falls Witches urban fantasy series. The other books are $4.99 but are all in Kindle Unlimited. This is the first time this author has appeared in our Free Friday list.

From Maria Korolov:

I do like cozy magical mysteries, particularly ones where the protagonist is middle-aged and has an evil ex-husband. So I had high hopes for this book.

And, at first, it seems to have everything. Torie’s husband is a successful business executive, and her son is in college. Her life is pretty good, until one night her husband tells her that he’s leaving. Oh, and the next day, the FBI shows up — apparently, he’s not just a cheating no-goodnik, but was also running a Ponzi scheme. His successful business? All a scam. Now the press is hounding her, and she’s lost everything. So she goes home to stay with her mom. They’ve been out of touch for a while, because the mom never did like the husband.

But when Torie gets back to her home town, instead of getting a bunch of told-you-so’s, she winds up rescuing an injured cat who turns out to be a shape shifter. In fact, a lot of people in the town are shape shifters. And Torie’s mom is a witch. Surprise!

Also — Torie is also a witch! Another suprise!

And someone is murdering the local shape shifters, and Torie is pulled into the mystery.

Okay, I was using the word surprise facetiously, because I was totally not surprised. Just by the cover, you can tell that magical stuff is afoot. But you know what? I don’t care that I’ve seen this plot before. It’s cozy, like a warm winter blanket. Maybe that’s the wrong metaphor to use on the hottest month in human history, but you know what I mean. It’s like watching an episoder of Murder, She Wrote. You know she’s going to solve the crime, but it’s still fun to go on the ride.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

3. The Last Night by Robert J Walker

This is a stand-alone post-apocalypse EMP thriller. This author has been on our Free Friday list numerous times in the past, with the
most recent being this past May with the book Homestead in Shadows.

From Alex Korolov:

This is an EMP story, where an electromagnetic pulse wipes out all electronic devices — including lights, phones, and vehicles — and leaves humanity scrambling to survive in a powerless world.

Compared to other EMP books I’ve reviewed, this one’s got a slow start. I read the first three chapters, and each chapter introduces different characters as they go through the EMP.

In the first chapter, Sean and Judd are two teenage brothers attending a heavy metal show in a large stadium with some of their friends and thousands of other people. Just as the opening act finishes and goes off the stage, the power goes out. The crowd goes into a frenzied panic, and one of Sean’s friends falls to the ground and is trampled by panicking people.

In chapter two, Theo and William are two older dudes who are on a three-day dirt bike trip out in the desert. Theo is Sean and Judd’s dad. The two friends are sitting around at night talking about life and drinking beer. Suddenly, their cellphones go dead. When they try to start their parked bikes, they turn out to be dead as well.

In chapter three, we go to Theo’s wife, Marissa, who’s on the porch at their house having some cocktails with her neighbors. One of the neighbors owns eight dogs who are currently outside, and they go nuts, howling and yelping. Right after that all the power goes out.

I understand all the characters are connected, but after three chapters of meeting all these different family members in different situations, I was pretty bored. Some other EMP stories I’ve read also introduce a lot of characters, and I’ve always enjoyed those less than the ones that focus on fewer characters and have more action from the start. This one’s no different. I don’t plan on reading any further.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

2. Alien Tyrant by Ursa Dax

This is the first of thirteen books in Fated Mates of the Sea Sand Warlords sci-fi romance series. The other books are $4.99 each but are all in Kindle Unlimited. This is the first time we have seen this author on our Free Friday list.

From Maria Korolov:

I’m not a fan of alien sci-fi romance. Especially with aliens who have advanced technology but are also all handsome warriors who look like Conan the Barbarian. And I’m also not a fan of the fated mates trope — and this book has “fated mates” right in the subtitle.

Buroudei is one of those alien warriors. He’s got claws and a tail. And he’s been without a mate for a long time. Then a magical being shows up, something that looks like a giant snake. He puts on his loincloth and straps on his knives, grabs his stone axe and spear, and follows after it. The creature takes him to a sacred pool, where he strips naked into the pool.

Then he sees a face. But it’s not a fact that belongs to anyone from his species. She’s got a pointy nose, no claws on her hands, round ears, long hair, and no tail.

Then we switch to Cece’s point of view. She must be the human woman he saw in his vision. She lives in Toronto, where’s she’s finishing a PhD in linguistics. She just lost her grandmother, her last remaining relative.  She’s jogging outside, listening to Lady Gaga, when she’s grabbed and thrown into cargo van.

When she wakes up, she’s in a room with other prisoners. All of them look like they’ve been in a struggle. Cece thinks they’re in a bizarre sex trafficking ring.

Then they meet their captors — they’re U.S. Army. And they tell them that all the women have been selected for some kind of secret mission because of their expertise. Several national governments have sanctioned their kidnappings. The army guy tells them that they will be allowed to go home if their mission is a success. They’re going to an alien planet. None of them want to go but they have no choice — they’re already in space.

The plot is a bit far-fetched for my taste. It’s definitely readable, and I do like both Cece and the alien guy, but it’s not really my kind of thing.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

1. The Stormborn Saga by J.T. Williams

This is the a box set of the first ten books in the fourteen-book Stormborn Saga epic fantasy series. The other books are $3.99 to $5.99 each but are all in Kindle Unlimited.This is the first time this author has been on our Free Friday list but you might have heard of him anyway because he’s been on the USA Today bestseller list.

From Maria Korolov:

I’m a big fan of epic fantasy. I’m an even bigger fan of getting ten books for free all at once. And also a fan of finding out that the rest of the books in the series are all in Kindle Unlimited.

So I’m jumping into this with high hopes.

Valrin is an orphan, a boy who lives with his aunt and spends his morning gathering eels. She’s not actually his aunt, though. It’s just what he calls her. She’s also part elven.

Valrin himself is rumored to have washed ashore during a horrible storm that had chosen him in particular to live, and people call him “Storm Child.” He doesn’t mind. He likes the ocean and storms.

He sells his eels to fishermen. Today, a ship full of dwarves is sailing in, and he’s hoping that they’ll buy his eels. They don’t want any eels. They’re looking for an elven ship, and are willing to pay quite a bit of money for it.

After the dwarves leave, the elven ship shows up. The other villagers want to capture them and turn them in for the reward, but Valrin’s aunt steps in to protect them while they repair their ship. One of them was also born from the sea, and gives Varin a magic ring. Only some people are able to use it — and go under the water and not drown. When Valrin puts the ring on, it glows.

Meanwhile, the money-hungry villages have poisoned some of the elves, and lit a signal fire to tell the dwarves that the elves were there. The dwarves show up before the elves can leave, and Valrin’s aunt tries to protect him from the dwarves. She uses a bunch of magic against them, and the elves take Valrin with them as they try to escape, and he helps them fight the dwarves.

It’s a great beginning, and the action is fast-paced and immersive. I enjoyed it very much, and think that I’ll enjoy reading more of this book this weekend.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

See all the Free Friday posts here. Do you have other free books for us to check out? Comment below or email me at [email protected].

Have you read any of these books? Are you planning to? Let us know in the comments!

And watch Maria, Sophie, and Alex Mueller discuss all ten books in the video below:


MetaStellar editor and publisher Maria Korolov is a science fiction novelist, writing stories set in a future virtual world. And, during the day, she is an award-winning freelance technology journalist who covers artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and enterprise virtual reality. See her Amazon author page here and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, and check out her latest videos on the Maria Korolov YouTube channel. Email her at [email protected]. She is also the editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business, one of the top global sites covering virtual reality.

Alex Mueller is a recent graduate with an honors bachelor in creative writing and publishing, He has been writing since he was six years old. His favorite genres include fantasy, science fiction, and, more recently, romance. When not writing, he enjoys hiking, spending time with his dog -- or anyone else’s -- and baking brownies.

MetaStellar news editor Alex Korolov is also a freelance technology writer who covers AI, cybersecurity, and enterprise virtual reality. His stories have also been published at CIO magazine, Network World, Data Center Knowledge, and Hypergrid Business. Find him on Twitter at @KorolovAlex and on LinkedIn at Alex Korolov.

Sophie is the deputy fiction editor of MetaStellar, and sometimes write book reviews too. She has her MFA from Emerson College and spends her free time reading and writing science fiction and fantasy. Her work can be found on MetaStellar, PageTurner, and on her website:

Lilivette Domínguez-Torres is MetaStellar's marketing assistant and an aspiring book editor based in Puerto Rico. You can find her talking about fantasy books or K-dramas on Twitter at @lilivettedt.

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